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New Research Shows We’re All Bad Listeners Who Think We Work Too Much

According to a new study most of us spend our days distracted and wishing we could spend more time with our families.

Do you think of yourself as a good listener–while texting, listening to a conference call, and checking email at the same time? And if given the choice, would you quit today, go home, and hang out with your family? Findings from a new global study suggest that if you’re like the majority of workers, you’d answer yes.

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Management consulting company Accenture surveyed 3,600 professionals from 30 countries–half men, half women, ranging from entry-level to management, evenly divided across all generations–on a variety workplace topics.

Here are the study’s highlights:

Listening Skills Are Lacking

Our perceptions of our own listening and focusing skills are off. Nearly all respondents consider themselves good listeners, but they also admit to spending their days distracted and multitasking. Two-thirds said listening has become more difficult as work turns more toward the digital, and a third said that distractions kept them from doing their best work–including telephone calls, emails, and unexpected visitors to their office. Think twice next time you’re tempted to visit a coworker and “just pop in for a sec.”

Even though they’re tuning out during conference calls with email (66%) and IMing (35%), people still value soft skills. Thinking before you speak and asking questions were the top-valued listening skills. But only 38% of companies offered soft-skills training.

The Dream Of Balanced Work-Family Life

Fifty-one percent said that if they could afford to financially, they’d quit to become stay-at-home parents. Only slightly more women than men said they’d prefer to be home. More respondents than previous years reported working too long hours with too little pay–the youngest generation topping that group.

More Asked For Promotions

More workers requested promotions this year than last, the survey says. Millennials were slightly more emboldened to ask for higher wages and promotions, and slightly more men than women made the ask.

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Women In Leadership Are Looking Up

Fifty-two percent of companies are preparing more women for senior management positions–a hopeful statistic, since many women’s leadership development programs fail. Seventy-one percent of those surveyed believe that in the next 15 years, we’ll continue to see the number of female CTOs grow.

About the author

Freelance tech, science and culture writer. Find Sam on the Internet: @samleecole.

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